Here’s an interesting turn of events. Los Angeles mayoral frontrunner Antonio Villaraigosa will return $47,000 in donations he collected in South Florida recently:
Hoping to end a growing controversy over out-of-state campaign contributions, mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday he will give back $47,000 in donations from employees and other contributors linked to a Miami-based hotel gift company.
One day after he flatly rejected calls from Mayor James Hahn to return the money, Villaraigosa’s campaign put out a statement saying he decided to send back the contributions “out of an abundance of caution.”
His opponent, current mayor Jim Hahn, raised questions about the source of the money that was donated to Villaraigosa.
Questions over Travel Traders were raised Wednesday in a Copley News Service story, which found that employees of Miami-based Travel Traders refused to explain or had difficulty saying why they gave to a mayoral candidate 3,000 miles away. One did not recognize Villaraigosa’s name, while another had not heard the name of the company that was identified as her employer in the councilman’s contribution records.
Hahn spent part of this week calling for an Ethics Commission investigation into Travel Traders to determine whether money laundering or other improper behavior occurred. The city prohibits campaign money laundering, the practice of allowing political donors to be reimbursed by their employers or other third parties for contributions.